Monday, August 01, 2005

My Friend Jack

Known to some as 'The Colonel'. To others, he is 'Jack', or 'Happy Jack'. Me, I usually call him Clayton, which is his given name. I think he was born in 1916. I've gathered clues for years to learn his age, and finally, I think I've got it. Today is his birthday. He usually tells me he's 39, or maybe it's 29. What stories he has to tell! If only somebody had captured them. I have only fragments. He was an Air Force pilot back in the day. A fighter pilot, a regular top gun. He flew so many missions and lived to tell. By the grace of God, he would say. He's the only person I know who can recite the Sermon on the Mount. He used to hang out at the stock exchange on his off time when he had nothing better to do, and he got the hang of things, invested, and made his million. That was back when a million was alot. (It's still alot to me, actually.)

Once he asked me to marry him. I said no. I'm no Anna Nicole. He used to try and sneak a feel anytime he could get within arm's reach. Dirty old man. That is, until I got married. I think it hurt his pride a little that I married someone else (who really was 35 --and broke). The moment I became a wife, he ceased his flirting game, so he's a dirty old man with some principles. I love him all the same, my friend Happy Jack. I hope he's still with us. He was fading fast the last time I saw him. But he still had a keen wit. A woman asked him if he'd lost a wife. He replied, I lost five. Ha! She stopped making small talk after that. (She was at the nursing home proselytizing her dad, getting him ready for heaven, I guess.)

He told me that each wife cleaned him out so he'd have to rebuild his million. He'd do it again, marry again, divorce again. I don't remember why he didn't stay married. Something about incessant nagging, perhaps. I guess it's worth a million bucks to some people to get an old bag off your back. Maybe I should have married him. I might have a million bucks to my name by now.

I've enjoyed his friendship. He's got such a twinkle in his eye. I wanted him to teach me what he knew about the stock market, but it's a different beast these days, since the dot com explosion.

Funny thing, I've noticed with depression era millionaires. (Okay, I only know two, so it's not of statistical significance.) They are very frugal. Frugal might be an understatement. Clayton wore the same faded grey Members Only jacket every time I saw him in the past fifteen years. He didn't have it the last time I saw him, although I think I recall seeing it in his closet at the nursing home. This time he was wearing a warmer grey zip front sweater, however, it was pinned closed with five giant safety pins (almost the size one would use for diaper pins). I asked about it and he said the sweater was still good, but the zipper was broken. It's wasteful to get a whole new sweater just because of a silly little zipper, you know. Millionaires.

Where is Clayton? Where's Happy Jack? I want to wish him a happy birthday. I hope he's still with us.


Blogger Suse said...

Blog stalking! I like that. Hope you find Jack and get to wish him a happy birthday.

6:22 PM, August 01, 2005  

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